Business

Dallas Regional Chamber forms permanent council on diversity to be led by new executive

The chamber also updated its mission statement to emphasize the importance of inclusivity.

The Dallas Regional Chamber is forming a permanent diversity and inclusion council that will be led by a to-be-hired senior vice president.

“This will be a key senior position for us moving forward,” chamber president and CEO Dale Petroskey said in a statement. “Both our staff and our board members are in agreement that we all must share in the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do to improve the Dallas region every day.”

The diversity and inclusion council will focus on four key areas: Diversity in leadership, education and workforce, community investment in underserved areas, and policing and criminal justice policies.

The chamber board of directors made the council official Monday following a special meeting June 23 where Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, Pastor Richie Butler, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Doug Deason and Pastor Bryan Carter were invited to speak.

The council will be the only one made up entirely of members of the chamber’s board of directors, according to the chamber. It will be co-chaired by Axxess founder and CEO John Olajide and Ernst & Young managing partner in Dallas Michelle Vopni.

Olajide, who chairs the chamber board this year, is a Nigerian-born entrepreneur and University of Texas at Dallas alumnus who saw an opportunity to introduce tech to the home health care industry in 2007 when he founded Axxess. His Dallas-based company employs more than 300 employees representing 42 nationalities.

Vopni will be the board chair next year.

In addition to the new diversity and inclusion initiative, the chamber has councils devoted to public policy, corporate recruitment, promotion of southern Dallas as a business destination and new leader development.

Dom DiFurio. Dom is a staff writer covering breaking business news. He writes about the companies and transactions that shape life in North Texas. Dom considers himself among the many transplants that moved to Texas from the crowded coasts who found more than enough reasons to call it home.

ddifurio@dallasnews.com /domdifurio @DomDiFurio
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